#6. Teaching Them To Be Themselves
Peer pressure is the thing that makes kids smoke cigarettes, do drugs and read pornographic magazines by the time they reach middle school. As countless PSAs and after-school specials taught us, we must teach our kids to be themselves and never give two halves of a fuck about what their "friends" think.
But in Reality...
Remember that smelly kid in school, who never washed his hair, had no friends and once pissed in the sink at that party he wasn't invited to? That's your kid, without peer pressure. A study conducted at the University of Virginia showed that kids who were exposed to peer pressure around the ages of 12 and 13 turned out to be way more well-adjusted than the ones who weren't. They better understood the need to accommodate and make compromises when confronted with social pressure, rather than the "I'll just take my ball and go home" attitude they adopt otherwise.
The kids who were taught to be themselves no matter what didn't become walking clones of James Dean. They actually turned out less engaged, socially challenged and statistically less intelligent, their GPAs dropping almost an entire letter grade.
Maybe more importantly, when you actually give a damn about how people view you, it develops a skill of reading the most subtle changes in people's emotional states, leading ultimately to a heightened sense of empathy. In this socially awkward age of the Internet, it turns out peer pressure at the right time can basically give you superpowers.
Empathy Man! He won't piss in your sink (probably)!